Social media really connects us in a way unbeknownst to generations long ago. It's a good thing, especially for a local beekeeper and me. Here's what happened.
Queen of Hearts Honey, a local brand, was in search of a local commercial kitchen to "borrow" at certain points during the year to jar their honey. I happen to have a wonderful local commercial kitchen to make my pizzelles. I found out about this need after doing some business with Queen of Hearts, aka picking up my fair share of honey as advertised on Facebook. The price was right and the local honey, delicious.
Later, and upon inspection of my bakery, the owner, Chris, and I had a meeting over a bowl of soup, and decided that Bellapizzelle and Queen of Hearts could help each other. I would make my kitchen available to them, and in turn, I would get endless honey. Amazing right? It got me thinking -- partnering with a beekeeper could be very interesting. I could make a honey pizzelle! Great idea right? As it turned out, it was a total failure in testing. Too soft. Not sweet enough. Flavor just not there. Texture totally off.
What else requires honey? Ah.....the Italian tradition of Struffoli!
Show me the honey!
As the story goes...Struffoli is a Neapolitan dessert of crispy honey balls with a tender heart seasoned with candied fruit and nonpareils. Originally, they were made of honey-dipped hazelnuts, but since those nuts were too expensive, some Italians replaced the nut dipped in honey with fried dough dipped in honey.
In Naples, this is traditionally holiday fare, but as I like to tell people, "stop waiting....start eating!" Around the holidays, Italian friends of my parents used to make it and bring it to our house. I still remember how our friend layered it in a mound, and wrapped it in saran wrap. And, I remember eating it until there was no more. (12 cavities later....)
I took mom's old recipe book and scoured through it for her recipe -- but I don't remember her making it herself. Alas! I found the perfect recipe and enhanced a few of the flavors.
Instead of making one big mound, I decided to put the Struffoli in decorative jars. I topped it with nonpareils but no candied fruit. I'm testing to see what the shelf life of these wonderful bites could be, without preservatives.
They make a great gift idea. Imagine...homemade Struffoli in a jar for that special someone. We will debut them at my Open House and see what my vendors think. Oh and we'll be tasting Chris' honey at that event too -- !
Hoping your days ahead are sweet as honey!